Friday, March 21, 2014

New Beer Releases for Spring

Spring definitely went on hold last weekend, with a big snow dump in Anchorage.  Wee didn't get nearly so much down here on the Peninsula and the last few days have been beautiful and sunny, if still a bit cold.  This will be a bit of a short blog, as I've been running behind this week, but there are some new beer releases out there that I want to write about before they are "old news".

But before I start talking about new beers, here's a tip of the hat to Gabe Fletcher of Anchorage Brewing Company.  His A Deal with the Devil Barley Wine just took 1st Place at the Brouwer's Hard Live Barley Wine Festival in Seattle, beating out 56 other entries.  2nd place went to Lost Abbey's Angel Share Grand Cru and 3rd place to Firestone-Walker's Sucaba.  Congratulations, Gabe!

Moving on to the new releases, HooDoo Brewing in Fairbanks released a Scottish Export Ale on Wednesday.  Here's how they describe it:
Photo courtesy of HooDoo Brewing

This is our take on the strongest of the Scottish Ales - the Scottish Export Ale. Rich and malty, but clean and dry. These beers often have a slight peat smoke character, so in addition to the nine varieties of Scottish, English and Belgian malts, we included a small portion of peat smoked malt to the grist for a hint of earthy smoke. OG: 13.6 // IBU: 26 // ABV: 5.6

I love Scottish and Scotch Ales and this one sounds excellent.  Too bad I'd have to drive 600 miles to try it!  There is also a very nice one-page spread on HooDoo in the latest issue of Alaska Magazine.

Barb Miller at Midnight Sun Brewing Company sent me some info about their upcoming releases.  Here's what you can expect from them in the next couple of months:

Friday, April 4th at 11 AM: Release of Unite (Strong) Pale Ale, brewed with hibiscus and aged with dark sweet cherries. This beer was brewed on March 8th, International Women's Day, as part of Pink Boots Society's inaugural International Women's Collaboration Brew Day.  8% ABV, 50 IBUs, late Cascade hops, plus the hibiscus and cherries.  Draft only.

A new beer series: ALASKANA- MSBC has 8 beers slated for this series at this time but this is an "open-ended" series so they can add beers as they go… The first 3 to be released in APR are Hibernator Double Smoked Bock, Matanuska Thunk Funk Saison aged in red wine barrels with Brettanomyces, and Bore Tide Wheat Wine aged in High West rye bourbon barrels.

Friday, May 2: For First Firkin Friday, MSBC will be tapping a firkin of a big beer (like Lust or Sloth).  Stand by for further details.

Saturday, May 3: Midnight Sun's 19th Anniversary Party.  They will be a tapping a  firkin of their 19th Anniversary beer,  a saison brewed with yarrow, dry-hopped with New Zealand Rakau hops.

Monday, May 5th: MSBC's actual 19th anniversary, along with Cinco de Mayo.  To celebrate, they will be  tapping a firkin of Pleasure Town IPA, cask-conditioned with jalapeños, serranos, coriander and lime zest.

Finally, Monday May 12th thru Sunday May 18th is American Craft Beer Week.  Look for food specials and and different brews on tap in The Loft all week long.  Midnight Sun will participate in the national toast to American Craft Beer at 4 PM on Monday May 12, so why not stop by and join in?

In my last blog, I wrote about some of the upcoming releases from Broken Tooth Brewing.  Well, they've been good enough to create a nice graphic showing off their new bottle releases, so here it is:

Click to enlarge

Alaskan Brewing has announced a change in both the label and the recipe of their IPA.  First released in 2007, Alaskan's IPA will now be called Icy Bay IPA and the label will feature a photograph of a surfer on that body of water, rather than a drawing.  Here it is:

Click to enlarge
The recipe will now showcase more hop intensity in aroma and flavor, and more hop complexity with Bravo and Calypso in addition to the Cascade, Summit and Apollo hop flavors that have always been in Alaskan IPA.There’s also a higher IBU without losing the balance of a great malt backbone. 6.2% ABV, 65 IBUs.

Finally, Glacier BrewHouse has just released two new beers for spring:

Kristal Weizen -- South German-style filtered wheat beer. Clear straw in color with aromas of banana and clove. Made with premium German Pilsner Malt and German Weiss yeast. 6.07% ABV.

Saison -- French-style Saison with fruity and spicy flavors supported by a soft malt character and slight tartness. Made with special French Saison yeast. Definitely a smooth operator. 8.26% ABV.

Photo courtesy of Glacier BrewHouse
Some more news of the not-a-beer-release variety:

49th State Brewing Company in Healy has announced that they will open for business this year on April 25th, which is earlier than last year.  Now word yet on what they will be offering, though several of their Hibernation series should top the list. 

No date yet for the Seward Brewing Company's opening.  I understand that it is under new management, but I've been unable so far to contact the new owner to get any details on his plans for 2014.  I'll keep working on it.

Kenai River Brewing Company has sold their two-head manual canning machine to Baranof Island Brewing Company in Sitka.  My understanding is that it's to serve as a stop-gap measure until they can get their new canning line installed later this year.

That's about it for news.  How about a couple of quick reviews:

Alaskan Brewing's Jalapeno Imperial IPA: I mentioned this beer in last week's blog.  Since then, I've had a chance to try it.  It poured a deep clear copper color - very pretty, like a fine Scotch whisky - with a big, cream colored head.  The aroma was of citrusy American hops; I couldn't detect the peppers in the nose. Carbonation was good, and the mouthfeel was medium.  The initial bitter attack was good, then hop flavor, then the pepper heat, which increased toward the finish.  To be honest, I've never been a big fan of chili beers, but this one from Alaskan is one of the best I've ever had.  The pepper notes are restrained enough to compliment the beer, rather than dominate it.  If jalapenos are your things, definitely give it a try. 8. 5% ABV.

Gigantic Brewing's Bang On Pale Ale: Another deep clear copper brew, with a nice white head. The nose had lots of enticing hop notes.  Nice mouthfeel and good carbonation. Good up front bitterness, a touch of toffee, falling off to a nice, clean finish.  Very moreish as our Brit cousins would say.  An excellent pale ale. 5.6% ABV.

Victory Brewing's HopDevil IPA: One of the classic East Coast IPAs out there.  Poured the classic copper color with a big off-white head and a nice aroma of American hops.  Good lacing on the glass. Nice lingering bitterness, plenty of good clean hop flavors, but more restrained than its West Coast cousins. Very drinkable and an excellent IPA. 6.7% ABV.

That's it for this week.  Hopefully we'll have more spring-like weather next week.  Meantime, keep drinking good craft beer!

Until Next Time, Cheers!

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